John Harvey, CEO of the Bermuda Hotels Association pointed out that, along with the teenage pregnancy rate, the price of tomatoes and global warming, the island’s poor customer service record is the fault of guest workers*. Apparently it is all due to ignorance of appropriate etiquette, so here are a few tips to help you get it right. While these are primarily aimed at the hospitality industry, they can apply to any customer-facing role:
It is the customer’s duty to say "good morning" first. If they neglect this duty, continue to ignore them for as long as it takes for them to get the message. Some customers require a lot of this training. I know it’s hard sometimes but if you give in, they’ll start to expect service everywhere they go and then what will happen?
- When a customer approaches, ignore them.
- The customer must only wish you a good morning and approach when you have signaled that they may do so. This should be done with a brief upward nod of the head and, for advanced practitioners, a glare or scowl.
- Once the customer approaches, look at them carefully to determine if they look like you, the Premier, Angelina Jolie or the Incredible Hulk. For these customers, you may drop the glare.
- Ensure that all necessary tasks have been concluded before you give the customer your attention. These could include: filing your nails; talking to your co-workers; taking phone calls from your ace boy/girl; debating whether Shakisha in accounts has the fattest arse in the island; educating all within earshot about the medical condition of the previous customer; and taking your lunch break.
- Repeat the glare frequently.
- Process the customer slowly. If they wanted quicker service, they’d go to Thailand or Jamaica.
- It is important to check if the customer is concentrating. In a hotel, this could be done by charging them for 9 nights instead of 3. In shops or restaurants, perhaps simply adding random items they have not purchased or overcharging by 40%.
- Speaking to the customer is unnecessary unless it is your aunty.
- You can also speak to the customer occasionally if you need to point out the error of their ways. Some are dumb enough not to learn from your glares.
- The customer is always wrong and it is your job to point this out.
By following these simple rules, you can offer the level of service that visitors to Bermuda have come to expect.
Next week: etiquette tips for bus and taxi drivers.
*Mr Harvey did not specifically comment on the cause of tomato prices, the teenage pregnancy rate and global warming – these are already accepted guest worker liabilities.